Study Shows Quality of Pressure Ulcer Care Improving in Nursing Homes

in Health & Medicine, News Releases, School of Medicine
January 12th, 2000

Contact: Christopher Smalley, 617-638-8491 | christopher.smalley@bmc.org

BOSTON, MA — In a recent study released in the January issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and School of Public Health researchers, in conjunction with the Veteran’s Health Administration, have shown a significant improvement in the prevention of pressure ulcers in nursing home patients.

Study author Dan Berlowitz, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine at BUSM and associate director of the VA Center for Health Quality, Outcomes and Economic Research at the VA New England Health Care System, states that there are widespread concerns regarding the quality of care in nursing homes, and whether that care is improving. The development of a pressure ulcer may result from serious problems in the quality of care in nursing homes. “We examined a large provider of nursing home care, and looked at whether rates of pressure ulcer development had changed,” said Berlowitz.

According to the study, which was based on observations of 30,000 residents of over 100 nursing homes between 1991 and 1995, pressure ulcers declined by over 25 percent. In addition, the study also showed that total proportion of advanced late-stage ulcers declined by 25 percent.

Berlowitz asserts that based on this large-scale study, nursing homes have shown significant improvement in the quality of their preventive care with regard to pressure ulcers. “A number of factors have probably contributed to the decline, and while we cannot say whether these nursing homes provide excellent or even acceptable overall care, we are encouraged by these improvements in care.”

Established in 1873, Boston University School of Medicine is a leading academic and research institution, with an enrollment of nearly 630 students and nearly 1,000 full and part-time faculty members. It is known for its programs in arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, human genetics, pulmonary disease and dermatology, among others. The School is affiliated with Boston Medical Center, its principal teaching hospital, and Boston Veterans Administration Medical Center. Along with Boston Medical Center and 14 community health center partners, the School of Medicine is a partner in Boston HealthNet, a consumer-driven urban health network.

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